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If you’re in a relationship, it’s not unusual to give your partner nicknames, including but not limited to: bae, baby, my love, boo, sweetheart, etc. Turns out these pet names aren’t just cute (even though, okay, diflucan and pregnancy safe some might sound silly), they can actually be a super important part of your relationship.

“Giving a nickname creates vulnerability on both sides,” explains Women’s Health advisory board member Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a New York-based clinical psychologist and author of Dr. Chloe’s 10 Commandments of Dating. “The nickname is a display of affection from the giver, while accepting the nickname is an expression of vulnerability from the receiver.” Nicknames are also supposed to be, well, humorous, Carmichael explains, and they often characterize the other person in an endearing light. (For example, calling your partner “Pookie bear” or “Baby boy” when nobody is looking…)

In short, nicknames imply a deep level of trust and intimacy, Carmichael explains. That said, they’re not necessary to keep your ‘ship afloat. So, don’t put pressure on making sure you and your partner have nicknames for each other, advises Gigi Engle, a certified sex coach, sexologist, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life. “Nicknames aren’t for everyone, and they aren’t a make or break thing in relationships. People show affection in lots of ways,” Engle says. (Noted.)

Oh, and one more thing: Make sure your partner actually likes the nickname you’ve given them. “Whatever you do, do not push the boundary, but instead be respectful and stop using a nickname they don’t like,” says Janet Brito, PhD, a clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist based in Hawaii. “If the nickname gives you a feeling of expansiveness—it makes you feel alive, it makes you smile—then it’s a good nickname.”

Now, if you’re hyped about the prospect of incorporating some nicknames into you and your partner’s routine, read on for the 75 best nicknames to call your S.O. Happy relationship-ing.

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